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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  January 2, 2011 12:00am-1:00am EST

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stay in the white house. so they were very powerful women in their own day. >> tell me what to do two women have most in common personality wise. >> they had very little in common except they were both completely devoted to woodrow wilson and what he needed and wanted. >> was there anything surprising you found in your research while writing? >> well, he had a girlfriend to. and theodore roosevelt memorably said, who would've thought the man was a r-romeo? it looks like the druggist apprentice. >> ditty of a growth trend with each way for gesturing one? >> just during one. the first wife really believed it could harm him politically, so she packed it so that girlfriend were a family friend and basically kind of co-opted her. at the second wife didn't have any intention of sharing had
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with anybody and the relationship really had come to an end before she came on the scene. .. >> with him all during his presidency. when he suffered a massive stroke 18 months before the end, she knew his mind so well that she was really able to carry on even though he was ill. >> thank you very much for your time. >> thank you very much. >> next, gerald blaine one the
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secret service agents assigned to the the kennedy detail the day he was assassinated. reports on the day and colleagues memories of the day. he's joined by clint hill. the event is held at the sixth floor museum in dallas. it's one hour. [applause] >> as nick and jill mentioned, we are just thrilled to have the folks here. jerry blaine, kent, and lisa, the writer. lisa is the one that put the stories together. welcome to dallas, and welcome to the sixth floor museum. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> i need to remind folks, we need you to turn your cell phones off, not just put them on silent, but turn them off. there's a lot of radio interference in the area, and we
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want to make sure the recordings come out well. there are two cameras here, those are from c-span. the program is being recorded for c-span. they will broadcast this sometime probably in the next week or two. we don't have an air date yet. steven fagan is recording also for our oral history program which now totals over 800 people. while we are chatting, the biographers of our guests will appear on the screens behind us, also some photographs. the one the kennedy come from the national archives and white house photographers and the photographs of the kennedy in dallas, come from the sixth floor museum's collection. let's see, we'll also have an q & a session. if you don't have a pencil or pen to write with, hold up your hands and we'll give awe -- give you a pencil.
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i have some prepared questions. we'll see what we can do. let's get acquainted first. we like that had. raise your hand if you remember the kennedy assassination weekend. raise your hand if you were here in dallas at the time. fascinating. fascinating. all right. let's see -- and i wanted to make one point. we are hear because of a very sad event. but we don't want to make this a sad occasion. i'd like to pass on to you a story that came to me while i was about halfway through the book. it did not occur to me until i read a passage in the book. let me take you back to denver, colorado, and both jerry and clint worked in the clever office of the secret service, but not at this time. in 1963, i saw president kennedy. at the time, we lived to a top executive at the loyal lincoln dealer.
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he came over and said president kennedy is coming to town. we are going to service our limousine. he's going to come right by here. we lived a block away from a major east/west street. i know when you are coming by. if you are go out there you'll be able to see them and wave to them. so i went out there. you know, there's no one else there. because the route that he was taking from lowry air force base to downtown denver was not published. i'm the only one out there. i saw the flashing lights. here comes the big limousine. i'm waving. he went right by. he never saw me. he had his head down. it occurs to me that there were secret service agents in that car wondering how did that guy know? [laughter] >> and who else knows? [laughter] >> there's probably something in the files somewhere that said find out about that kid. all right. your book, "the kennedy detail"
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is getting a lot of attention. one the stories that's been talked about a lot is the moment when you, jerry, almost gunned down the brand new president of the united states lincoln -- lyndon johnson. you were at the white house. take it from there. what happened? >> well, i wasn't at the white house. it was about 2:15 in the morning after the assassination and we were all kennedy detail agents were standing watch. and president kennedy if he came outside, he would notify the security command post and we'd get the word around that the president was out moving. the vice president before he became president usually only had about two agents with him. one would be inside, and maybe the other one out. and so he had no idea the protocol. and i hadn't slept in about 40
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hours. and i was hallucinating and when i relived the 4-12 shift agent, he was still just emotionally down from dallas and he pointed to the machine gun that we had on post. we placed it there. not knowing whether it was a controversy or not we pretty much on edge when i heard a noise coming from around the house and all of the sudden i had my -- the weapon to my shoulder and my finger on the trigger and i noticed that you can recognize lyndon johnson's profile. fortunately, i noticed that right away. but it was close. i had nightmares over that for a long time afterwards. >> those of you who have been
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here before know where we are. of course, the c-span viewers might not know. we are the on the 7th floor of the depository building. it's now owned by dallas county, the dallas administration building. the museum has exhibits on the sixth and seventh floor. we are in a separate area. it's a saturday afternoon, in two days it will be 47 years since he was killed right outside the windows. jerry and lisa, where has this book been? why has it taken so long from the story from you guys to come out? >> let me start with the motivation first. when i retired, i started looking on the internet. and started reading stories about agents that we had served with that were accused of being a part of a conspiracy. the driver turning around and shooting president kennedy.
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although if you look closely, he would have had to shot mrs. kennedy in the back of the head in order to get to the president at that time. and just stories that were defaming the people. and so i read a story that involved tampa where i conducted an event, and i went back and look at my records. i said it's time to set the record straight. there are not many of us left. and we're all gray haired, and we won't be around very long. so we wanted to leave a record. and to find somebody -- i must have written probably about seven books to tell the stories. but to find somebody that could put the heart and soul to the book, lisa mccoven who wasn't even born at the time of the assassination. but joyce, my wife and i were
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friends with her parents. she graduated with my son from high school. so lisa, and of course, this became an agent. i think i'll let her discuss her feelings as he put this together with me. so. >> do you want me to talk about that a little bit? >> sure. >> first of all, it's been an honor and privilege to have been involved in the project. i feel extremely lucky that somehow the stars aligned and jerry and i have known each other for all of these years. it was the right time. and we came together to work on this project. and it has been just fascinating for me. because i was born in january of 1964. and, you know, in history class, it seems like when you take u.s. history in your junior here in high school, you get to about world war ii, and it's may, and things are winding down and i had never studied the kennedy
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assassination. you know, of course, i knew of it. but didn't know much about it. what i knew was that when i used to go to the blaine's house for christmas eve, they always had a great christmas eve party. down in their basement, they are the great photographs with jerry with lyndon johnson and eisenhower, and kennedy. i was fascinated. being 12 years old, or 16 years old, i didn't feel comfortable asking him about it. working on this book, i feel like i got a rare window into history like no one else has. >> was this your first book? i know i've been a journalist for much of your professional life. was this your first one? >> yes, this was my first published book. >> as i read through the book, i could tell where you are leading me. and sometimes when you read books like that, you don't -- it's kind of annoying. but with your book, i was enjoying getting there. i knew what you were leading to,
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an emotional moment. it was enjoyable to follow along with how that -- with how that trail wound around. how did you decide to write the book in the way you did? >> well, as jerry said, he had spent many years putting stories together. and he had conducted -- he had contacted a lot of agents already. i had a lot of material to work with in terms of their various stories. we came up with the idea together of how to put the story together. to me what was fascinating and important was to show the men as human beings. not just these nameless, faceless men in dark sunglasses. to me the secret service agents were always very mysterious creatures. you know, as i've gotten to know them, i realize -- they are -- i mean they are human beings. and the stories that i read from the various agents and as i started interviewing the agents were just so poignant that to me
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it was important to make the reader understand who the men were and love them and understand the close relationship they had with the kennedys. so that you know what's going to happen in the book. everybody knows what's going to happen. but you kind of want to know where, you know, now you start caring about jerry blaine. where is he going to be when it happens? so i wanted to kind of build that drama into it. >> clint, you were somewhat reluctant to get involved. you've appeared very few times over the year, more so than most of the other agents. how did you get involved in the book? and how did jerry talk to you into it? >> i've known jerry from 1959. he replaced me in denver when i got transferred to the white house. he called me one day and asked me if i'd be willing to contribute to a book he was writing. he told me what it was going to be about. i was not enthusiastic at all. i was very apprehensive about
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it. i've been offered many chances to write, contribute, appear on television, various things. i just didn't want to do it. he told me that this book was going to be factual, no gossip, the information would be coming from the agents that were involved and material that they had. and then he said that i could check it for fact. once he said that, then i agreed to contribute. as long as i could check it before it was published, which i did. and i've read the book six times. and i know what's in it, and it's factual, not fiction. >> you mention salacious material. the talk about his personal life. there's a lot of that in your book. why is that? >> well, they -- we in the secret service give the president and his family as much
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privacy as we can. when they get to the second floor of the white house, we stay out of there until we have to or requested to go there. what happens on the second floor, that's their business. not ours. same thing in resident away from the white house. we provide them with an environment in which they can function safely, but they live their lives as they want to live them. we don't interfere and talk about it. >> for several months following the assassination, you continued with your assign assignment, whs jackie kennedy. did people come up to you after the "life" magazine where they could see you running up to the car. did they come up and say are you that guy? did that happen? >> rarely. because i tried to make sure nobody knew who i was. but i stayed with mr. kennedy and the children for a full year after the assassination until november of 1967.
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and then i was returned to the white house detail. >> did that make it easier or harder to deal with what had happened? that personal relationship with jackie? >> it made it more difficult because i had to go through the grieving process with the family. with she and the children. christmas of '67 was an absolute horror because here we are with the two young children that just lost their father and the widow who just lost their husband. you try to make it as merry christmas as you can. but it's just impossible. >> did you two stay in touch after that? >> when i left in 1967, they threw a going away party for me in new york if she was living at the time. she had moved to new york. and i lived in a hotel room in new york. and they wished me well. they thought i was being transferred to wyoming because they thought for sure they'd never let me back on the white house detail having been with the kennedys. i saw her in 1968 when -- for
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the funeral of senator robert kennedy, and i talked to a her a few times on telephone. because of the interest she had in protective activities for her children. that was the extent of it. >> all three of you, i assume, spoke with many of the current and former agents at the time about this project. how do those conversations go? and what kind of responses did you get? especially from those who would not speak or participate in this project. >> there were -- i started off really by calling jerry banes's wife. jerry had passed on. he was our agent in charge. i talked with her and i told her that i was thinking of doing that. the second person that i touched base with was floyd corey. surprising probably to many of you, but we never discussed the assassination with each other.
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after the assassination occurred, there was no trauma counseling, just an offer lot of work to do. so we were left to do the work. our working life was 60 hours a month over time on average. i think i calculated it out, we made about $1.80 an hour. and we just were constantly working. you'd work and the only way you could relax is take an hour or two after you got off and spend time relaxing or drowning down what the agents you were working with. and so we just somehow kind of swallowed our emotions. we got wrapped up in the new president. we had no idea what impact it was going to have on us the rest of our life. but there were two agents that i
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talked to. but they told me they didn't want to participate. and one was jack reedy, and i have a great deal of empathy for him. because he was on the president's side of the automobile. and when he heard the first retort, he turned around and looked up from where the shot came from. and clint, he'll explain later as his eyes scanned over, he noticed the president hands go to his throat. and so clint took off immediately. and jack then turned around and, you know, for all of his might he wanted to jump off of the car. but the follow up car driver had pulled over. and jack even attempted to make it, he'd have been run over by the car. but then there was a movie and hollywood has played a big
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impact on all of us. in the line of fire, they had clint eastwood's figure faced it in where jack was on the followup car. the theme of the movie that he failed miserably at his job. and that was the theme of the movie. i think that's probably what impacted jack. and he just said emotionally he couldn't participate. a second agent, don lauden, who was assigned to do the departure events here in dallas. we were so stripped down of agents on this trip that'll probably be another question. but don was the senior agent and you needed a senior agent to handle a departure. so he was left behind. you may have seen movies that
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some of the theorist say he was being told to stand down. don was just getting his turn to run by the car and he knew he was going to have to stay there. but not being able to be with the president in dallas that day really impacted him. >> one the things that coming out very clearly in the book is the day-to-day routine of the agents. endless hours day in and day out of just standing and watching. and how do you do a job like that? >> sometimes you are looking off into black water out there somehow, saying jeez what did i waste my four years going to college for? but the rest of the time, we did it -- you know, our agents were pretechnology. we used hand signals with each other. we had no radio communication.
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we had three by five cards with photographs of people who had threatened the president and on the back of the three by five card we had their biography and so forth. and we would memorize those pictures and then people would always ask us why we wore sunglasses. because behind the sunglasses, your eyes can look right and left. and so if you see one the individuals, then you bang on the side of the car and the other agents do that and you do it quick turn over that way. they've got their eye on him. and if you feel a threat is there, then you notify the driver to move on. but that was our technology. >> is it okay for the general public to know that now? >> we had a bunch -- i think in 1963 we had a budget of 4 or 5
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billion. i don't think we had that much. we had probably 330 agents. there were 34 of us on the white house detail, there were two agents on the first lady, and three agents on the children. and today they have a budget i'll go conservative $1.4 billion. and they have somehow in the neighborhood of about 3500 agents and 7,000 employees in the organization. so it's an all together different game together. but the weaponry is much better too. when you get sniper rifles that can do shots at a mile away. and some of the other technologies and larger groups that use suicide to -- as a weapon. then you still got a serious problem. but i'm positive the agents
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together have the same heart and soul that we do. >> the business is so much more complicated now. it makes me wonder, did you have to show the manuscript to the secret service before it went to the publisher? >> why don't you take one and talk about it? >> no, they didn't have to receive approval for this at all from the secret service. however, we had -- jerry allowed me to take a book and talk to the director, mark sullivan about it. and he read the book. he called me up. he was very enthuse -- enthusiastic about the book. he invited us to have a luncheon last monday. we did. he thought the contents of the book should be read by every new agent in the service because it would help them understand what had happened in the past and use that information to what they are doing today. >> i might add to that, we --
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clint did notify director sullivan while we were writing the book. he wanted to let them know it was being done. at first what did he say? >> oh no. not another book. [laughter] >> and -- but then he said -- he found out that clint was involved and he said if clint hill is involved, we don't have a probably with it. we know it's going to be worthy of trust and confidence. >> you can't get much better than that. >> jerry, after you left the service, you did mostly security work. but you lived for a while here in the dallas area. were you here when word first got out there was going to be a museum about the kennedy assassination here in town? >> no. i work for ibm for 27 years. i started -- i left in july of 1964. and i ended up working on law
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enforcement and intelligence systems and helped design the walnut systems for the cia, mobile terminals, fingerprint scanners. my frustration, i think one the reasons that i left is it almost seemed like a feudal job unless we had the type of equipment needed. i worked quite a while on that. and so i made a call on the secret service. because the fbi system could check for wanted people. we had no way of keeping track of where the potential threat cases were. so i -- they had a new data processing manager at the secret service. and so i said, well, why don't you just tie into the national crime information center and run
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the inquiries through and if you get a hit, at least you'll know where they are. and he said, well, gee, that would be an invasion of privacy. and after going through the assassination, i just couldn't take that. so i went into the security side of ibm. and here in dallas, i worked for arco national. and you already had the museum up and running pretty well then. >> and clint, you stayed with the service for a while. then you retired and dealt with your personal situation. >> correct. >> what's kept you busy since then? >> i tried a number of businesses. none of them worked. i was a failure at all of them. i just kept busy with my family. that's about the only thing i've been able to do recently. but i did stay with the service. i was returned to the white house detail in 1964. and i was assigned to then
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president johnson. first thing what happened was president johnson went to his ranch in stonewall, texas, and i was down there and one day i was walking between the house and the security room and president johnson saw me. he recognized me as having been on the kennedy detail. i had met him personally in new york. he come to visit mrs. kennedy one day at the carlisle hotel. he knew who i was. as soon as he called me and called and talked to the agent in charge and said that he wanted me removed immediately and didn't want me to be assigned to that detail with him because i'd be with the kennedy. he thought for sure i was a kennedy loyalist. so he went and talked to him. he convinced him i should stay. so i staid -- stayed and within
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three years i became the agent in charge of his protection. when he left office, he asked me if i'd be willing to come down to his ranch and run his protective detail. i told him i didn't think my career ladder should end at the river. [laughter] >> so he accepted my denial going down there to take that job. and i went on to be the agent in charge, vice president for texas, then moved to headquarters and eventually promoted me to assistant director for all protection. and then i was retired in 1975. >> in 1975, that was the -- that was the interview on one of the earliest episodes, or earliest "60 minutes" programs. you got a phone call at one point. i know this is in detail in the book. this was a moment when you first talked on camera about the kennedy assassination and people
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had remembered it ever since. of course, now it's on youtube everywhere. do people ask you a lot about that appearance? what do you tell them at that moment? >> they do ask. it was one of those situations where i completely broke emotionally. >> everything went fine. when they got back to new york, don hewitt who ran "60 minutes" didn't like the way because they didn't get into my emotions enough. mike wallis said we had technical problems. we're going to have to shoot it again. so i met him for lunch at a hotel in washington and they shot it again. this time the questions were quite different than the first time. he got right into my emotional backage, and i broke on camera.
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many times people have asked me about that. if i recovered. and yes, i can say i have. but it was -- i'm glad it happened the way it did. that was the first time i let lose of the emotional baggage that i had stored inside of me. >> you had another moment when you and your wife came back to the plaza. >> in 1990, the agents had an organization called the association of former agents of the u.s. secret service held a conference in san antonio. my wife and i decided to go to that. i decided that since we were in the dallas area, i didn't tell anybody this, but they we were going to go to dallas from san antonio, and i was coming to the daily plaza. i had not been here since the assassination in 1963. we came to the plaza, i spent
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time walking from houston observing all of the angles, looking at the tree and what was different between 1963 and 1990, looking at the situation -- the way the school book depository was situated in relation to the streets. i came up into the sixth floor. you had just opened at a museum at that time and looked out the window to see what the view was and realized how close it was. that the is -- it was a very easy shot. and i came away realizing that i did what i could that day. and i couldn't have done any more. it was a sense of relief to know that i had done everything that i could have done. >> you heard three shots. >> three shots. all came from the same location. >> evenly spaced or different? >> different -- i didn't hear the second shot. so i only heard two shots. first shot came from my right rear. and i was looking to the left to the grassy area on the left-hand
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side of elm street. when i heard the shot, my vision took me to the right towards that shot and so doing, my eyes went across the back of the president's car. i saw him grab at his throat and he started to move to his left. didn't move too far. he started going to his left. i knew something was wrong. i jumped off of the car and started to run there and get there in time in get up on top to cover. we try to cover and evacuate. i was trying to get there to cover up so that nobody could do any further damage to the president or mrs. kennedy. about the time i got to the car, just before, the third shot that i heard and felt because it hit the president in head just above the right ear, right up in here. and blood and brain matter all over the place, including on me. about that time, mrs. kennedy came out of her seat in the trunk of the car. she was trying to retrieve something that had come off of the president's head and went to
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the right rear. i slipped at first trying to get on to the car. the driver had accelerated the car. i gained my footing again, got up in the car, helped her get back up into her seat. when i did that, the president fell over into his left into her lap. i could see the upper right portion of his head, a large palm about the size of the palm. looked like somebody had taken a scoop and removed and blood and brain matter all over the car. his eyed were fixed. i was quite sure it was a fatal wound. i gave them a thumbed down to let them know about the dire situation. we were going towards the -- we got up alongside and just passed the elite car which was driven by chief curry, chief of the dallas police. the agent was in the car with him. we were screaming at him to get us into a hospital. he did that, got in front of the
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car and led to the nearest hospital, which turned out to be parkland. >> from the book and some of the interviews that i've seen, you were convinced that there were three shots. one hit the president, one hit governor connelly, and the third shot hit and killed president kennedy. >> that's correct. >> now you know that is -- that is contradicted by the warren commission. they concluded the first shot hit kennedy and connelly, second shot missed, and third shot killed them. >> i recognize that. two of us believe the second shot hit governor connelly. the other person was nelly connelly, who was right beside him. i'm in great faith in believing the second shot hit the governor and third shot hit the president. >> there were two mistakes the warren commission made, they did not call sam kinney, or emory
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roberts the shift leader. because sam kinney had to keep his eye constantly on the presidential limousine. and sam all three shots find their mark. and emory saw all three shots find their mark. unfortunately, they weren't asked to testify. >> lisa, it must have been difficult keeping up with facts like these and trying to separate facts from some of the silly stories out there. how did you do it? >> it was a lot of long days. jerry and i talked about this a lot. i'd read something or read reports and i'd say jerry, this contradicts what you are telling me or what clint is telling me. and i came to realize that these were the guys that were there. and their memories are so vivid
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and so clear and as i would talk to other agents, they would corroborate the stories and i realized that this is the truth. and the other people that are writing these other reports and all of these researchers that have studied this endlessly, they weren't there. and, you know, there's -- so you can take some of what is written. but what i believe is what these men have told me to be true. >> i promise that we do a q & a. i have a bunch of questions already. if you still need to fill out one the cards, please do so. if you need something to write with, hold up your hand and our people will come by. here's an interesting one. this is a tough one. this is aimed -- this is for jerry. you are spending so much time promoting the book. how's your golf game coming?
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>> about the same as it was before i started promoting it. it's not that good. [laughter] >> if you folks are 99% certain that there was a -- there was no conspiracy, why might that 1% be? >> well, no, i'd say 100%. i think any good investigator realizes that is conspiracy where one or more people or two or more people participate in a crime that lasts probably 60 days at most it's been 47 years and there has been no evidence whatsoever of a conspiracy that has been proven. no proven facts. there is a lot of speculation but then they just ignore the facts. i've gone through all of the volumes of the warren commission
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and read through and i have not found anything. i felt a real injustice was made when the house elect committee on assassination studied and investigated a number of the conspiracies and they finally said, well, we can find no evidence of a conspiracy. however, we feel there was a conspiracy. now if that is isn't a befuddling solution to a conference, i don't know what is. >> here's a question that we get here at the museum here a lot. why wasn't the building, meaning the book depository, why doesn't it secured and which buildings post a bigger threat? that really goes to the heart of how you guys did your job and the public perception. >> well, the advance that did the advantage here, i think everybody on the detail agrees
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that there would have been no better agent than wen. he was very specific. but we go back to 34 agents. we had 11 experienced agents leave in the two months prior to the assassination. and so we had to take all of our experienced agent and put them off in advancement in case toby had to go to secret service school and walt was in miami and then he went to san antonio. so we had all of our resources out. usually there were only about five agents with the president. at any time other than if another function that we were going to. and then one the agents, say the 4-12 agent shift would cover for the day shift agent. so you'd probably have 10 there. but with five agents, our job
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wasn't to go after an assassination. -- an assassin. our job was to cover the president and evacuate him from the area. i've got a comment on clint's ability that day. the vehicle was going 11 miles per hour. there were 85 feet for clint to catch up with. he ran basically about 15 miles an hour to reach the presidential car. and he got there after the third shot hit. there was no way anybody could have been anything to save john that day. >> this question was just handed to me. it was part of one that's troubled me as one who has questions about some of the events of that day. the question is written was where were secret service people positioned in the plaza? let's not talk about the motor,
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where were they in the plaza? >> we are no agents in the plaza whatsoever. everybody said this was the ideal place because of this isolated building. but you look at the county jail and courthouse across the way. the other buildings there was nothing unusual about this area. and, you know, there wasn't always air conditioning at that time. so all of the windows were open. and people were hanging out of it. we didn't have the resources. wen had -- he did most of the events himself. then dave grant to came in and help him finish the last three days. you have to rely on local law enforcement. and local law enforcement did not have the resources. i mean we all knew that the moving platform which by the way, the president rode with the top off by preference everywhere
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he went. it was only if it rained or if the wind was blowing and mrs. kennedy was accompanying without a hat. and that was the only time the top went on. so we knew that we had that isolation or that problem of exposure. and even the night before president kennedy talked with ken o'donald and mrs. kennedy and she'd ask questions about protection. he said, you know, it would be very easy to, you know, to kill the president. just by taking a shot out of a window. but this is a democracy. we didn't have the resources. and the resources, in fact, were the same that they had after the blair house shooting and we had no threats whatsoever or
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attempts against president eisenhower. >> that changes as a result of dallas. presidents don't ride in open cars. >> yes, that's right. i had an opportunity at our luncheon to take a look at president obama's car. i hardly had the energy to open the door. >> it's not obama's car. it's secret service car prepared for the president of the united states who happened to be at the present obama. >> clint, just to make sure you know. [applause] >> clint, you were going to add something. >> you mentioned about this particular building, why was the building secured or the windows opened or closed? we came down main street, all of the windows were open. people were hanging out the windows. people on balconies, rooftops, which building should we have secured on main street or at the corner of houston and elm.
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you are only going to have a building secure. how about the rest of them? you couldn't do it. >> isn't it true that the public perception is you check all of the windows. but there's no way. >> at that time, we were unable to. today it's different. there are ways that they do major checks on various areas. of course, they don't ride in open cars either. >> right. let's see. excellent question. how well or not well did all of the agencies work together and share information at that time? that's probably the answer right there. [laughter] >> well, we did -- we had cooperation of all of the government agencies, including the fbi. i won't say anything bad about the bureau. they did the best job that they could. there was a lack of exchange of information sometimes. but for the most part, good
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cooperation between the secret service, fbi, cia, whatever you want to -- nsa, all of them. we were all in this together. we all helped each other. >> the problem in this case, the best that i understand, oswalt was not really on anybody's list. he had no history of violence. >> right. >> just because he didn't like some of kennedy's policies, which he freely espoused, doesn't put anyone on a list. >> he was -- you know, the fbi talked with him because of his defection. but he really didn't have the kind of record that would cause him from the secret service. he might be a threat. >> one of the questions that comes up a lot was the -- was the limousine driving too slow? was there a minimum speed that you had to stay above? was there some regulation that says you can't make a tight turn
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like the one off of houston on to elm street. are those all in the manual or guide book? >> no, there are no guidelines like that. there's been one the misconceptions. that was a difficult turn that they made out here. and i've heard comments of witnesses that say the car stops. and i think one the big mistakes if you watch zach film going at natural speed, you'll see how fast this happened. it happened less than six seconds. the first sound which sounded different to bill grear and roy in the front seat. bill wondered if he a blowout. he tapped the pedal. if you watch that, you don't even see a slowing down of the car. and you can now --
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>> it was difficult making the turn. it's greater than a 90-degree turn. when you look, you'll notice houston turning on to elm is a pretty sharp turn. that's a pretty good sized car. doesn't have a great turning radius. so he had to slow down, so much so that the motorcycle out riders had a difficult time keeping their bikes upright as they made the turn. when we got going, he was trying to get up to 11 to 12 miles per hour, which is what we were running when we came down main street, unless the cars were too close. that was generally what we were running. >> the driver had not driven the route before? >> he arrived with myself on air force one. >> he knew to follow. curry could know the route. >> that was his instructions. >> lisa, is that your first time to the plaza? what did you think the first time you did get here? >> no, the first time i came was
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in january of 2009. is that right? or was it this year? 2010. 2010. we were in the middle of writing the book. i said to jerry, you know, i've never been to dallas. i think probably need to go. so jerry and his wife joyce and i came here. and it was really invaluable. and i'm sure my comments were the same as everybody else who gets here. you say wow it's a lot smaller than i imagined it was. and then to go up to the museum on the sixth floor. and just see like clint said, the shot and how easy it was and how close everything was. now the trees are taller, quite a big taller and more mature than in 1963. it gave me a great perspective
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on just -- how to just describe the situation. and i tried to give the reader a feel of what it was like for those people who hadn't been here as i would guess most readers haven't. they feel like they are seeing everything as the agents saw it. because as has been mentioned, this was their first time on this route. and, you know, they didn't know what buildings were around the corner. only the advance agent had been here and knew the lay of the land. >> i got a question here. it refers in a way to something that's bothered me. if i could ask you gentleman to speculate, one the really interesting stories is that within a minute after the shooting, dallas police officer joe marshall smith ran towards the parking lot towards the grassy knoll and fence area. he encountered a man.
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smith had his gun drawn. he encountered a man who identified himself and flashed some credentials he was secret service. yet, there were no secret service on the ground. any idea what -- who that person could have been? clearly he had some identification that looked official to the officer. any idea what that could have been? >> i have no idea. >> i don't know. >> i'm going to have to keep digging, aren't i? >> it wasn't a secret service agent. >> no, that you can be assure of. there was no agents in the area. other than on the motor. >> they have a story out, somebody passed the story that somebody had lost their identification. so the secret service reissued in '64 new commission books that is absolutely false.
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>> president kennedy's car was struck down to the frame and rebuilt. it was, i guess, i assume bullet proof or at least bullet resistant. and it was used by president johnson. did he ever comment about having to ride in that car? >> not to me. i rode in the front seat when he was in the back. he never said anything about that to me. >> how did you feel in that car? >> it was a little bit emotional to know this is the car in which the assassination had occurred. like you say, they had stripped it down and it was now armour. i can't recall exactly what the strength of the armour was. but it was sufficient. that was the first armoured car that the secret service owned. after the assassination, the secret service troyed to locate the car. the only one they could find was the one being used by jay edgar hoover.
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>> who happened to belong to al capone. >> yeah, which happened to be a car which had been used by al capone. we got that car. it was what we called a 150t was the number of car. it was very lightly armoured. barely could stop a handgun. at least it had some resistance. >> as you've prepared this book, and searched through your mind to come up with the information and the stories, has it been helpful? was it painful to go through all of this? >> well, painful from the aspect of i offered it mainly on the internet. and i found out i really wasn't touching on the items i wanted to. so i started using the telephone. and, you know, five minutes or one question could go to an hour and 15 minute telephone
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conversation. and all of the sudden i started detecting the emotions and the difficult thing was bringing the emotions out to people who carried that burden all of the years. it was buried deep inside. i found out without the trauma counseling, everybody held that differently. but it truly had an impact on their lives. >> what do you hope people take from this book? >> what i want is a balance to history. lisa ran into an article in "usa today" that said that the young between the ages of 18 and 29, 82% believe it was a conspiracy. you know, i realize that people don't like to think that a president could die at the whim of one individual. but there were some
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circumstances that came through. i think one of them slowing the zach ruther film down. because everybody created history. this is what i call a blame society. because people some up with the theory and then they blame that lousy right wing or that lousy left wing or it was the blacks or the hispanics or cuba or russia or organized crime. it's a -- it's a sad tribute. you know when you look at something like chile where the miners were trapped. they didn't ask to hang the mine owner or bring a government agency in. they said let's get the people out of there. that's the way we used to operate. i think when president kennedy was assassinated, it was the end of the age of innocence. >> well, and you asked the question what do we want to do
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with this book? first and foremost, what jerry said was the most important point. for me, i just felt it was a heartbreaking and heartwarming story of people. they were a brand of brothers. and they've all said to me that all of these guys, it was a very small group of men. and they spent more time with each other and with the kennedy family than they did with their own families. they ate together, slept together, they played together, worked together, and they were a band of brothers. to me, that was a very important point to get in the book. >> another question here, some folks are wondering if the book is going to be turned into a film. actually, there's a tv special. >> yes. the discovery channel has filmed a documentary based on the book. and we actually filmed it here in dallas in june of this year.
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and it was a reunion of seven of the agents on the -- on "the kennedy detail." two of which are in the audience, toby and walt. it was the first time the agents had ever come together and talked about this incident. so it's a very compelling film. i hope you will all watch it. it's airing december 2. 9 p.m. eastern. >> it was originally scheduled for this monday night. but it's been move! it's been moved to december 2. i would love for there to be a film. if it cries out to any film producers in the audience, come talk to us. >> this now here may sum things up quite well. this was from diana who writes i am glad you are here. thank you. you did all that you could.
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thank you very much. [applause] [applause] >> jerry and clint and lisa will be here for our book signing. you are welcome to stop by. let's see. i have a note here. what else am i supposed to say? discovery channel show. we mentioned that. thank you so much for coming here to the sixth floor museum and enjoying the program. >> for more information about the book visit kennedydetail.com. >> visit booktv.org to watch any of the programs you see here online. type the author or book title on the search bar and click search. you can also share anything that you see on booktv.org easily by clicking share and selecting the format. book tv streams live online for 48 hours every weekend with top
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nonfiction books and authors. booktv.org. >> we are here at the national press club with sam berry and kathy goldmark. tell us what the book is about? >> it's a book about how to get published and go as an author. how to get up and running. we encourage people how to write, but not so much as the craft of writing as the business of being an author. >> so what's some of the advise that you have? >> well, your book will not get finished unless you start it. that's the thing. you have to apply your butt to the chair and write a little bit every day if you possibly can. and we have a lot of tips for the moments when you get stuck, the moments when you feel insecure, tips about finding an agent. and we sort of walk the authors r

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